The month that was...January
Another month is all but gone; January is technically not quite dusted yet but in footballing terms it is so we are looking to February. What did the month bring Pompey?
We have a look back.
The month, and indeed a new year, started with us facing a month that looked a tricky one but on paper at least one that could bring us some points with a bit of luck and some intention shown - luck, went for and against us, and the intention could be debated!
Anyway time to take a butchers at what we thought and what actually happened...
Southend v Pompey?
Southend win 50%
Pompey win 17%
A Southend win was predicted and a Southend win is what we saw, although not in the fashion that many would have expected...
We played well, really well for much of the game, and had a lead at one point. Southend eventually got level before winning it 2-1 in injury-time.
Ok, 50% were right but that was one we were unlucky with methinks.
Oxford v Pompey?
Oxford win 37%
Pompey win 29%
Next came Oxford, and another game on the road, with us coming up against one of those that could have been our manager before Barker - Chris Wilder, who has since left to become the new manager of Northampton!
To say the 0-0 draw was not a game for the 'purist' would be an understatement.
It was a really drab affair, but Pompey arguably had the better of the chances, well the chance but the 34% that went for a draw, which was where the smart money would rightly have gone, would have been right.
Not pretty, but effective and a good point for me...
Pompey v Mansfield?
Pompey win 75%
Mansfield win 8%
The expectancy, ahead of the first Fratton game of the new year, was a Pompey win - with all due respect to Mansfield you could see why so many thought this would be the case.
Mansfield going one-nil up was not in the script, but Pompey battled back to make sure we got a point in the 1-1 draw - only 17% were right.
I kind of had mixed fortunes following this one; it was not a good game as clearly you saw two struggling sides that were low on confidence. It was one that I felt we should have won, and maybe needed to, but to comeback from behind was pleasing.
Morecambe v Pompey?
Pompey win 49%
Morecambe win 22%
Another of those that could have gone either way was the trip to Morecambe last weekend, the voters fancied a Pompey win mind.
In the end the 29% that went for a draw were right.
All in all a draw was 'probably' a fair result, but it was such a shame that having saved a penalty Carson then let in a soft goal and with us twice being ahead we 'only' drew 2-2 in the end. This would have been taken prior but after there were some mixed feeling.
Wycombe v Pompey?
Pompey win 40%
Wycombe win 20%
The footballing month ended with the trip to Wycombe, it was not a 'must win' but it was a 'must not lose' and we managed that.
40% fancied a Pompey win, or a draw, with a draw being what most would have really expected.
We rode our luck, but I think we deserved some, and managed to scrap a 1-0 win.
Improvement has clearly been seen since Barker came in, the football has not always been pretty but we have ground out some results and I think we can, ultimately, say that January has been a successful month.
6pts from the 15pts on offer, with just the one defeat - and even that being the injury-time defeat to Southend - was a very good return for me and a return that cannot be scoffed at really can it?
Put it into perspective really...
From November and December we only got 9pts from the 30pts on offer, so we got two thirds of that total from 2-months in just the one!
It could have been better, and you could argue that maybe it should have, but it is a good solid foundation to build upon and take into February and the rest of the season as we look to ensure we avoid relegation.
I cannot lie, I was concerned by the thought of relegation again, but never really thought we would be - we cannot rest on our laurels but I think we can, and will, not kick-on and the Wycombe win will be followed up with others as we move towards safety.
For me, the Mansfield game, proved the turning point...
When we went behind you feared another defeat, just a few weeks before that the players would have crumbled and never come back. If anything we would have conceded again but fighting back to draw 1-1, even if that left mixed emotions, proved that we were improving and we really are harder to beat.
It will still be 'unpleasant' to watch at times but the more we pull away to safety the better, and more expansive, I feel we will start to play - drawing 0-0 away from home at the moment would be better than playing with flair and losing 4-3 eh!
Yep, I think 2014 will be a much better year for Pompey, and a corner has been turned - now to make sure we continue turning it in February...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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